Saturday, 3 April 2010

1968 and Captain Beefheart

I'd already seen 'The Magical Mystery Tour' in black and white on Boxing Day and 10 days later I'm going to Pete's to see it again this time broadcast in colour, there's quite a few friends there - colour TVs aren't cheap so not many people have them.  After we'd all crowded into Pete's parents' living room the consensus was that the show was a pile of crap. I kind of liked it, some good songs I thought, although to be honest some of the visuals were a bit trite.

Saw Bonny and Clyde at midnight in Leicester Square, great film, extremely good casting, Faye Dunaway, Warren Beattie, Michael J Pollard, brilliant.

January 20th - what a fantastic Saturday night at Middle Earth - Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band (Alex St. Clair Snouffer, Jerry Handley, Jeff Cotton and John French/Drumbo). It was like someone had reached into my brain and seen exactly what I wanted to hear. The rhythm section, the guitars, the Captain, everything. They take the blues to a strange and fascinating new place. I totally love this band.

Fleetwood Mac, this time at the Manor House, I can't believe how many times I can see these guys, they are so good.

A big blues night at Middle Earth, Fleetwood Mac, Duster Bennet, Boilerhouse, Doc Ks and John Peel. Very strangely enough, me and Pamela saw Doc K's Blues Band play in Southgate in March 2010, the more things change the more they stay the same.

An odd gig today, Graham Bond Organisation lunchtime at the Pied Bull, Angel. Was good to see them of course but Graham Bond at lunchtime? Surely a person of the night.

March '68 and Tariq Ali is down at the barricades, Mick Jagger, Vanessa Redgrave have been protesting at the American Embassy. The Vietnam War is on everyone's mind, particularly young American men who are one of the many pawns in the game and are desperate to dodge the draft.  Who could blame them?

Jeremy Spencer was on good form tonight, Fleetwood Mac were on at the LSE, in between numbers he held up a condom filled with water (we hoped), saying 'it would take Mick Fleetwood a week to fill this and let's face it he's king wanker.' Audience fell about.  Some good jazz on too. Don Rendell and the Ian Carr Quintet, we really like Chris Spedding, Ian Carr's guitarist.

Sometimes we visited the Arts Lab on Drury Lane, occasionally good stuff happened. I love the idea of performance art, but in practice it often promises more than it ever delivers.

We'd seen Peter Green FM at the Fishmongers, and a week later at the Marquee, then went on to Middle Earth to see Arthur Brown set his head on fire again. How I find time to go to work, eat and sleep I have no idea.

May '68 and students are rioting in Paris, in fact they're rioting all over. De Gaulle has run off to Germany, how ironic is that? My old boyfriend JoMa is studying in Munich and is now extremely political and anti the Vietnam war as many are. We still write to each other at this point, but eventually we stopped and lost touch.

May 6th is Pete's birthday, he gets a car from his mum and dad, and a Skip James album from me, lucky old Pete. The following night we go see John Mayall at Klooks Kleek.

Michael Winner's film I'll Never Forget What's His Name, was on, with Carol White, Orson Welles and Oliver Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Edward Fox - wasn't bad.

A few days later me and Pamela go to what turns out to be one of my all time favourite gigs, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at the LSE. The majority of the audience were sat on the floor, we were up and dancing, the Captain spotted us and sang right to us -how good is that? And the night didn't end there we went on to Middle Earth to see the Byrds and Spider John Koerner, an almost impossible to beat, top class evening.

Four nights later we're back at Middle Earth to see the Byrds again, this time Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull come too.

21st May and Brian Jones has been caught with hash again. The police are determined. The establishment really do not like the power and influence they have and will not leave them alone.

One of our favourites, Julie Driscoll is on tonight, she has the best voice and spectacular phrasing.  The Skatalites are on too, I picked up a really good poster of theirs from the gig. An especially nice souvenir and decades later is framed and hanging on my kitchen wall!

We're stood in the Manor House waiting for Jeff Beck, the band were late arriving, which was not a problem, except that sometimes Jeff did a runner.  It was OK this time, the entire group turned up and were bloody great.

A new TV programme 'Colour Me Pop' an extension to Late Night Line Up on BBC2 started tonight 14th June. It helped if you had a colour TV, but it was good to have another music show nonetheless.  Manfred Mann was on, could be interesting, but not guaranteed, Free, Small Faces, Mothers of Invention. Brian Auger, Bonzo Dog (how we loved Viv Stanshall). A lot of dross too, but that's to be expected, dross is always king.

Truman Capote's film 'In Cold Blood' ooh this is good.

A good double today, a concert in Hyde Park- Pink Floyd, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jethro Tull, Roy Harper. If there was a festival you could guarantee Roy would be there. You remember him - funny and folky with long blond hair. And on the way home as we walked up Kingsway we saw that 2001 A Space Odyssey was on at The Royalty Theatre so we nipped in to see that. A good weird way to finish the day.

July '68 Woburn, I'm there with Pete and Dave Ewer (he was in Rare Bird and Spinal Tap, probably other things too, but I don't remember). Paul Jones, ex Manfred Mann singer comes leaping on the stage shouting, ' Do you like good music?' about to enter into the well known song. Sadly the audience had moved on from sweet soul music and the loud en masse reply was, 'No'.  I felt a bit sorry for him, he had an entire set to wade through. We were all waiting for Jimi and his 'Purple Haze' - who of course did not disappoint. Jimi is a powerful presence - the other two not so much, but to be fair they were part of the magic, I don't know if it would have been better with other musicians - sometimes things work just because and together they surely made some great music.

Spent the night under canvas in a minute tent I'd borrowed from my brother - it's impossible to over state how much I loathe camping - the outdoors life does not call to me - ever, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Today's line up was good enough, Donovan, John Mayall, Champion J
ack Dupree, Tim Rose, Taste, Duster Bennett, but Jimi was the real reason for being there.

15th July opening night of Gary's (drummer in Pete's band) blues club in the Black Bull, Whetstone, Taste Rory Gallagher's band are on and  Pete is DJing. This is good news we have our own free club to visit.

The Country Club in Belsize Park is another good club, Tyrannosaurus Rex tonight.

The second of the Hyde Park Concerts, Nice, Traffic, Pretty Things, Action and Juniors Eyes, it was good, but not as good as the first one.

August and time for the Jazz and Blues Festival, this time it was being held in Sunbury. Jeff Beck lit up the place with some raging guitar. During Arthur Brown's dramatic set, a stand at the back collapsed and some people on or under the roof were hurt...but hey the show must go on and while the injured were being attended to Arthur brought on midgets, a choir, a fire eater and two jugglers.

The third Hyde Park concert, more Roy Harper, The Deviants, Ten Years After, Fleetwood Mac and Stefan Grossman, bit of a mixed bag from my point of view. I'm not that keen on outdoor music at the best of times - the sound is never very good and this line-up was of only partial interest for me.

Pete and I go to so many gigs, it is an endless stream and it seems like it will never end. Gary's club is going well, Pete is DJing there, and the bands Gary books are OK, not great but certainly OK. One night the Black Cat Bones are on, Gary tells them he doesn't have enough money to pay them, which goes down like a fart in a diver's helmet. A rumour goes round that the guitarist is carrying a gun and is not leaving without his money. Gary suddenly disappears and returns with the necessary dosh. Who knows how true the rumour was, but the threat worked a treat.

The lead is Marianne Faithfull, she'll be wearing a leather catsuit, riding a motorbike and having an affair with Alain Delon, this really must have been a difficult sell! 'Girl on a Motorcycle' wasn't the best film I'd ever seen, but I have to admit Marianne did look hot as did Alain.

Went to Camden Passage my friend from school Angela was working on a stall there, I bought a 1920's black beaded dress, which I do still have 40 years later, minus a few beads, it is a wonderful item.

The Jazz Expo is taking place at the Hammersmith Odeon, we see some top class American artists, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker, Jerome Arnold. It's always a delight to see these guys, but would rather it took place in smaller surroundings.

Mothers of Invention at the Festival Hall, this is a really good band and especially love it when Frank and Captain Beefheart team up, they are hysterical together.

Jon Hiseman's Colisseum are playing at Gary's club tonight, with Jimmy Litherland playing guitar and singing, Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax, a very interesting line up, I really enjoyed it.

Back at the Country Club for the Pink Floyd. Mostly enjoyed it rather a lot, although I did get a bit desperate during the solo in 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' - silently praying for the return of that well known riff.

We've been hearing about someone called Dr. John and his album 'Gris Gris', my friend Stephanie who works in her Dad's record shop get's a copy for me and I take it to a DJ gig Pete is doing at Notre Dame Hall in Leicester Square. Wow the voodoo is powerful tonight, the audience made him play the title track and 'Walk on Guilded Splinters' over and over.

A sad moment for music fans this November - the goodbye Cream gig at the Albert Hall, with Yes as support. I guess we understood they had to split up - before someone got hurt! But these three are a lot better together than they are apart. Brilliant gig,

10th December at The Marquee and the first time I saw Led Zeppelin, I thought they were funny and old fashioned. Jeff Beck had been doing this stuff for sometime and a whole lot better too, although Led Zep has a powerful rhythm section which could be a bit of a dodgy area with Jeff's band.  Luckily I've never had the desire to work in A and R.

Pete was playing with John Walden's blues band and they were going to be working in Paris for a couple of weeks. Oh no, my boyfriend will be away for Christmas and New Year, that's too bad.

I am not going to go to Trafalgar Square for New Year's Eve again, instead I've decided to go to Alexandra Palace with my boss Vicky. Not a bad night - Small Faces (the gig when Steve stormed off and left the band), Free, John Mayall, Spooky Tooth, Bonzo Dog some good bands, but I think lacking a really top act. Definitely an improvement on the Square. I don't know how we got home, I can remember being outside in the rain, walking through the mud in the Palace Gardens. Very possibly I was drunk.

The last year of the decade has begun.


  1. Hi there,
    Do you know of the Facebook group - Middle Earth Club and Record Label ?
    Would be great to hear from you !
    Rag Doll (The Exploding Galaxy)

  2. Sorry for extraordinarily late reply - thanks for the heads up - good page - have joined. Recently started a podcast with my daughter, which will include Middle Earth etc. only one episode so far - it's on Mixcloud called 'Mama was a Rolling Stone'. Also on ChapelFM